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Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Failure of Most Self Defense Systems and Teachers--by GM Perkins

Can anyone tell me why most self defense and martial arts teachers and students fail to take into consideration the fact that there is a constant flow of instantaneous change of dynamics during any real life and death altercation? Is there some natural law that blinds people to this fact?

Why is it that the automobile industry gets this and has computers attached to each wheel of some upscale sport vehicles which can detect thousands of changes in road dynamics per second which enhances the performance of these cars and people watching these commercials don't make the connection when it comes to dynamics of violence? Is it that folks think that humans cannot process information quickly enough to make a difference in a life and death fight?

Most human beings are able to tell the direction of the source of sound because the brain can distinguish to 1/50,000 of a second when that sound reaches each ear and gives a corresponding answer to it. If the brain can do this on a subconscious level then how fast can the brain deal with the sub-cortical stimuli and the various other kinesthetic stimuli along with the sounds and other indications of real time events?

It is only when we rely on the limited function of the linear/conscious part of our brain that we loose the ability to respond instantaneously to the real time events....

Fear is a main culprit when it comes to reacting to what is happening to us in real time...

Fear can also be used as a catalyst to explosive instantaneous correct reaction in saving our lives...This is what Guided Chaos training is meant to do....Enhance the subconscious mechanisms we all have which allow humans to perform seemingly super human feats....GC fighting can be likened to this...

How can an older man with bad knees, and many physical weaknesses prevail against men who are either a foot or more taller or many pounds heavier or many years younger? He or, in some instances, she relies upon the principles of Guided Chaos to get past the normal "natural" advantages of these others...What other martial art/sport teaches this?

Why is it that the prevailing method of teaching is to show a technique of attack and a corresponding action when it can be scientifically proven beyond doubt that this is a fallacious methodology? I am puzzled by this since my youth...

I see the best that most can come up with is some form of combination attack/defense movements that will hopefully fit the bill...Will/can any of you respond to any part of my rambling unfettered train of thought here?....Act as if this is the question of some curious child which is not far from the truth...Help me see how others think...What emotions come up for any of you...Thanks for your patience, JPerkins


  1. [Reply from Syl C.]:

    Hi John,

    Not to be too obvious, but I think most people are not that intelligent, actually rather simple. They seek out simple answers for complex situations thinking that the answer will be there. Predetermined poses to fight, assuming how one will be attacked, etc., etc. This is how millions of dollars are lost in the stock market every day. People buy, (into), formulas and methods for playing the stock market thinking these simple strategies will make them millions in the complex world of stocks, when in fact it only makes millions for the people selling this crap.

    I think most people are content to believe that they know, when in fact they do not. Belief is a strong aphrodisiac.

    I believe I am correct. [[[|:O)


  2. John,
    I have no idea when most training for self defense became so rigid. I think that the success of rational thinking may be the culprit here. Many things yield to a rational approach or at least a partly rational approach. Most of science is based on being able to fit things into neat little boxes, even when much needs to be left out or killed in order to fit. It seems that this approach to training predated commercial martial arts schools, but maybe not. I don't know if the schools in the orient were considered commercial. Those schools were probably influenced by Confucian thought, with its artificial, prescribed approach to life. In any case, most people now expect to be taught in a way that is satisfactory to rational thinking. Most successful commercial schools follow that approach, even in the cases when the higher ups know it is not a good way to really prepare people to defend themselves. Money dominates and so do rational formulas; reality takes a distant second place. Reality is too alive, too messy, and too unpredictable, for most people. --Michael C.

  3. It seems to me that they simply think that violence is conscious and therefore they can deal with it using the conscious mind. All their answers come from this assumption, that you will have enough time (and space and awareness and light and knowledge--such as "he has a knife"--etc.). to be capable of giving a "conscious" answer.
    Thinking otherwise is too scary because it means seeing too much of what real violence is like. Engineers on the cars are just dealing with facts of how cars operate. Drivers of cars don't want to deal with the real danger factor thing in driving, either, IMO. But they certainly don't want to do so when it comes to violence. Most people could not, I think, deal with, for example, studying all the blood spatter evidence you looked at if they really understood what it meant. The reality is too much to face.

  4. In sports the greatest athletes use all the principles of GC albeit unknowingly or maybe they just figure it's just talent...Zen...Flow...Wu wu...But the pressure of sports does not equal the pressure of a gun to the head....JPerkins

  5. Hi John,
    In my opinion, these self defense and martial arts teachers fail to realize and teach that there is a constant flow because first of all, I would go out on a limb and say most of them have not had to fight for their lives. Secondly, because these other systems are mostly sport. They stop every time they "score a point." So a flow can really be established. Except for boxing which is "sold" as a sport. As you know, their demonstrations are choreographed and they get no resistance, so their stuff always works.
    Why is it that the prevailing method of teaching is to show a technique of attack and a corresponding action when it can be scientifically proven beyond doubt that this is a fallacious methodology?
    You will not see until you are ready. There are many reasons for this. This answer may seem silly but we go through or own journeys. Some People just aren't ready. I was introduced to GC in 2002 and I am now understanding things that you and Al have been telling me from day one. And I still have so much to learn.
    The ego has a lot to do with it too. If you take someone who has been training in any other system for a number of years and you show this person that his techniques don't work, they will finds excuses to not see the truth. A lot of do this in every day life by pointing the finger. Its not my fault, its so and so's fault. It is hard to look within and see that you might be the problem. Or in the case of martial arts, that maybe you have been training in the wrong system.
    Then there's the media. Everyday we are being bombarded by advertisements and endorsements. And most people don't do their research. Its like seeing a great movie trailer with you favorite movie star, but when you actually go see the movie, its horrible(Haywire. Very disappointing). The popular thing now is MMA. People want to do what the champ or popular mix martial artist does. So, jujitsu is very popular. Even the Marine Corps drank the kool aid. Although most of us are not two hundred pounds of solid muscle, we want to do what that athlete can do. They don't realize that there are weight classes in sports and referees. In the street we don't have that luxury. And from my experience it is usually someone bigger who messes with you or you are outnumbered(maybe that's why I'm such a good runner). People are misguided. We can call it misguided chaos. Like you say, "How can an older man with bad knees, and many physical weaknesses prevail against men who are either a foot or more taller or many pounds heavier or many years younger?" Simple yet difficult...the principles. That's what I want to master.
    It is frustrating that more people don't "get it." But its almost like a cult. The few believers will survive. Except that in this case your chances of survival do in fact increase.
    It comes down to what we Americans are exposed to. I am of Colombian descent. As you know, they have a history of violence. They show pictures of dead bodies on the front page of their newspapers for everyone to see. You don't see that here. We are protected from that reality. For most of us, the violence we see is in the movies or video games. And in the movies the star takes a lot of hit to the face, maybe gets into a car accident, has a bullet wound, yet manages to chase the bad guys and save the day. I think people live in that "reality." Where they will be able to take all that physical punishment and survive. With the proper marketing of bullshit these people can be sold these other systems of martial arts. ---Martin C.

  6. Hey John, very interesting, I'm not sure if i will make any sense in my reply but i will try. I believe that it is the society In which we live that is to blame. We are all brought up with the "it will never happen to me" mindset. Avoid bad areas and all will be ok. As we know sometimes those bad areas come to us or even worse we are in the wrong place at the wrong time, hard to believe that could ever happen, ha. This coupled with the new found fame of mma, is a recipe for disaster. Like you said the other day, it's like training with a firearm by only shooting at a non moving target, good for sport but not so effective in real life situations. As far as what you have developed is nothing short of amazing, i was first introduced to you and GC almost 20 yrs ago, damn I'm getting old, and consider myself lucky for being given the opportunity to learn just a fraction of what you know. Not to mention, it actually works, that's another story though. Granted i have only made some what i consider to be progress in the past year or so, reason being?? I am finally learning to stop trying to win, which is extremely difficult to do since "winning" is what America is all about. And the word winning is what seems to hold many of our student back, and keep many more from becoming true believers. Many current students get infatuated with beating up the big guy and "point hitting" that they hinder their own ability and lose sight of what GC is all about. In my own words, i Win by just trying to keep my head above water. Not sure if i made any sense but its late and i am way better at thinking my thought than putting them on paper. You are truly an amazing individual and i greatly value the time that you spend with me in class.

  7. Great response Kyle,

    I see that the "winning" idea is one of the greatest blocks to feeling like GC works...Many individuals come and stay for awhile just to see if they can defeat our principle based art...Yes most of America is hypnotized by the media and this is a serious downfall of our education in general...True critical thinking is not taught anymore...Even our scientists are biased either politically or for other reasons....The fact that you are able to think at this level gives me great joy...Critical, deep insightful thinking is what the art of GC is all about...Once you get GC many other parts of life are understandable....Take care and many thanks, John

  8. Before this conversation, I thought the main reason people have such a strong reaction to the "threat" of what GC says to their art was a threat to the emotional investment and time investment in their training. And that may still be a big reason. It might also be shear laziness to really think about what they are hearing and reconsider their assumptions. It is not always easy to give up something you have spent a lot of time building when you see it was the wrong thing to build.

    But now I start to think that perhaps the deeper issue is that to see the truth of what you are saying requires them to consider a harsh truth about the nature of reality that they would really rather not face. Facing that truth means giving up a carefully crafted defense against something fearful.

    Maybe not the question you were looking to answer. Certainly not short. Forgive my rambling if you can :-).

  9. Hey... I can see the same thing that you mentioned when I did a class in a non-related area.
    People are programmed from birth by parents and taught in school as children to PLAN...
    Stick to the plan...make a "what if" scenario and react to it.
    You will do what you are trained to do... we are indoctrinated to do systematic and routine things in most all other area of our daily lives.
    It would be difficult, but not impossible to put those car-like sensors to work for us. Practice...practice...practice.
    --a GC friend

  10. Because the pharisee scribes aka the Illuminati keep real knowledge from the masses. Only very very few can actualize this knowledge. --AW

  11. John,

    Well you caused me to think a bit on this, so I’m including my thoughts below. I hope you are doing well & know I appreciate the training got from you.

    "Why is it that the prevailing method of teaching is to show a technique of attack and a corresponding action when it can be scientifically proven beyond doubt that this is a fallacious methodology?"

    My lunchtime 2 cents:

    People like rituals. Each person knows his part and the enactment is often aesthetically pleasing, comforting and emotionally rewarding in other ways. In martial arts the attack/defense pattern is a logical starting point that can quickly become ritualized. These “martial rituals” often combine glimpses of truth with pleasing fiction and that combination is difficult to resist. Some may even acknowledge the fictional component but are still willing to participate. For example, before GC, I had taken various martial arts including a couple years of Aikido. Aikido has kernels of truth stuck in an aesthetically pleasing and fun ritual. To this day, I'm still occasionally tempted to drop in to a class to have fun and enjoy it for what it is. What stops me is that I believe it is impossible to have a MA class without some portion of the class believing that they are doing something practical and I don't want to inadvertently be part of a process that deceives someone.

    I also think people have been conditioned to believe the ‘old’ methodologies work and to accept such things on faith. I believe the rituals and conditioning are traps people must free themselves from. You can can only offer the alternative when life brings someone to a point where he is willing to look closer and see things more clearly as they are. Hopefully the younger generations are less encumbered by conditioning & ritual and the trend toward GC methodologies will accelerate.

    Best wishes-

  12. I've had to read this 3 times to let it soak in but I have similar thoughts , this is why I went from art to art .
    Each time I reached a proficient level I could see flaws in it's teachings or holes in the understanding of what they were trying to achieve .
    I can't wait to get my teeth into more and more of the deeper side of Gc , I truly love this system .

  13. Thanks, John! Very good reflections.

    I found that people: 1) are not able to think about what is effective and what not (but they choose what seems to work well, i.e. MMA) and 2) don't like to change what they already practice (i.e. traditional martial arts).

    I practiced with "many" people but few were able to understand what I was doing and why what they did didn't work as they think. Mainly people don't understand. Simply don't get it.

    I have some interesting experiences. One guy said that I was able to do such thing because I am very good but that he don't know if that will work with a world class fighter. One girl said that she don't understand what I am doing and asked me if I can show to her what I do (what defences I use) with specific attacks. But mainly people are not able to understand.

    Also some "reality" combat systems who speak about effectiveness don't realize that techiques don't work.
    The best that can be found are systems that use random speed combinations or attack/defense movements. These it seems people are able to understand. Because they have only to do what they learned at fast speed.
    Seems that is not easy to learn to adapt but also the main problem is that people are not able to understand this.

    Thanks. Igor

  14. Thanks Igor for your reply,

    I guess we are lucky that "World Class Fighters" are not raping women in the streets and attacking innocent people in general.....We are not in the business of sparring we mainly teach real life survival....Real Blood and Guts fighting....Not for sport...But people will use the excuse that you can't fight a world class fighter so that makes GC invalid...There is no comparison....That is a BS comment...I would answer...What World Class fighter can beat a gun barehanded from 10 feet away? This is a stupid argument that I get from people who can't admit that GC works..JP

  15. Part 1


    Just from my observations having studied a variety of arts and experienced many things over the years is that even with everything that is available and has been written throughout the ages on fighting the main reasons can be boiled down I believe to a few things. These are just my biased observations and streams of consciousness in no particular order.

    · Many people who have martial training regardless of source whether Asian or western fighting systems have a deep emotional investment in the systems that they have studied and do not wish to change. To acknowledge the truth of what you and others have been saying for years totally invalidates everything that they have learned as well as all of the money they have spent getting their belts and certifications many of which aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

    · Most people have never had to face their own mortality to include people who have served in the military as well as law enforcement, so it is difficult for them to comprehend the type of movement and ferocity of a real life and death confrontation. How else do you explain why we have martial arts programs in the services that focus more on sportive or controlling techniques than on killing the enemy? This is purely the blind leading the blind. As I stated in a recent seminar, self defense is not about trophies, point/sport fighting, bogus demonstrations or macho BS challenges etc… but fighting for your very life or that of your loved ones, period. Anyone who does not appreciate this simple truth or understand the difference is a child. There can be no other word for it…

    · Along those lines “very few” have the street fighting, law enforcement, investigative, and forensic knowledge and experiences that you have so even if they have been in some real scraps before doesn’t necessarily mean they have the mindset from which to understand things in the proper context.

    · Many people have had their minds "deeply" affected by the entertainment medium including sport fighting to the point where their mental template is based on a reality of fighting and human body-movement dynamics that does not exist in the real world. For them it is like the famous quote from Morpheus in The Matrix:

    “You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes…”

    --LtCol Al (see part 2 next)

  16. [Part 2]

    If something looks “visually appealing” or if the practitioner of a given art looks the part of a fighter it is automatically assumed that such training methods as made popular through entertainment must be the answer. At some point people either take the Red pill or they don’t, most would just rather keep popping Blue pills deceiving their own souls.

    · Even worse are the traveling salesmen who seem to say all of the right things when in fact they are slightly less clueless than those they deceive. They make easy promises telling people “strike here”, “hit there” and the bad guys will just fall down flopping around on the ground like a fish out of water. They assume the most nonsense things about real street confrontations and mislead people into believing that the bad guys are going to stand still and just let you strike them in some vulnerable area. Unfortunately the bad guys get a vote and if you’re relying on some magic technique to work, well good luck with that. So instead of being a blessing they are a curse amongst their students and are only setting them up for failure and in a life and death altercation failure is not an option. They are like bad a preacher in a church spreading their spiritual poison thus making their parishioners twice as deserving of Hell than themselves.

    · Many think just because they learned how to punch, block and kick or learned a few grappling moves and practiced these “physical motions” that it equates into real fighting skill. There is no emphasis on developing the body as a total weapon, nor a modality of training to ensure that these tools and techniques will work when they need it to work. Just because you own a hammer doesn’t make you a carpenter.

    · Many people are truly unaware that there really is a knowledge to fighting that goes well beyond physical ability and is not just the stuff of movies and legend. As one of my old college professors used to say, “thinking is painful which is why people don’t like to do it…” thus the overly prescriptive fight by the numbers methodologies that dance around the issue that fighting is brutal and chaotic therefore requiring you to learn how to become adaptive or better yet “creative”. In order to learn how to become adaptive requires a different mindset in order to understand and develop these skills.

    · Real fighting skill and development in my opinion is about 90% percent (or more) mental and dare I say spiritual and maybe 10% percent physical. The physical is easy which is why people place so much emphasis on it, but because we all age it is finite and because size speed and strength do matter in real fights, “limiting”. However, the mental/spiritual aspect is unknowable due to the unlimited potential of the mind. As I always tell students, the more I learn within this art the more I realize how much I don’t know. It is this unknowable aspect which people find difficult to cope with since we are generally a credential or goals based culture. Without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel people quickly default to “check the block” training systems.

    · Finally, too many of us don’t realize how much we have been conditioned to do things that are contrary to our nature. We are taught in many systems to move in a way that is unnatural against the way our minds are hardwired. So when the feces hits the fan we lock up because our brains are struggling to function in an unnatural manner as we attempt to process a flood of external stimuli.

    Well those are just my thoughts off the top of my head. I could say more but then I would only be rambling over the same points. I don’t profess to have all the answers, but then again maybe that’s the point.

    --LtCol Al

  17. John,

    People can't deal with formlessness. They want the reassurance of rote, of routine, of structure, of the known, and of heavy contact.

  18. Hey John,

    Wow! This is such a good topic, and one that I have had countless debates on with friends and fellow martial artists since I started training in GC. I can say that I somewhat understand the mentality, so I’m going to try a little automatic writing to give you my opinion.

    I honestly believe the reason for this is that most people have never been or even seen a real fight, although they may think they have. To the outside world, so to speak, a fight is not seen as two abled body people who are trying with all of their might to punch, kick, grab and/or break each other to the point of serious injury or death. So, in their defense, they’ve never been put in situations where they had to rely (at least knowingly)on things like balance, pliability, sensitivity, subcortical stimuli, etc. I think that your example with the automobile industry is an excellent one, but the difference is that the engineers that build these vehicles understand that we have no control over the conditions of the road. Meaning, if you’re going to drive, then inevitably there are going to be times when you’re driving on snow, ice, water, pot holes, and anything else that could possibly effect road conditions. So, if they want people to continue to enjoy a smooth ride, then vehicles have to be made to respond to their environment. In terms of fighting, the general public latches on to what their vision of a fight is because nothing has happen to force them to respond to their environment. The engineers can say with confidence that road conditions are inevitably going to be less than desirable because they, and the general public experience that on a daily basis. Due to the fact that most people have never had a person who is a little bigger, stronger and faster trying to take their head off, their environment stays constant (road conditions are always good). Consequently, they can keep their false sense of security in whatever self-defense system they’ve learned.

    I hope my rambling makes sense. Take care.